The Philadelphia Marathon has grown tremendously since our first race in 1994. What started as a small local event of just 1,500 participants has become one of the top-10 marathons in the country. Our beautiful and scenic course takes athletes past historic landmarks, through urban neighborhoods, and along Philadelphia's picturesque waterfronts. Of course, you can't forget the crowds.
Each year, spectators line the course, eager to cheer on athletes, because there's nothing we love more in this town than champions.
Race Weekend features the AACR Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday, November 20; the Dietz & Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon, Rothman Orthopaedics 8K and Kids Fun Run on Saturday, November 19; and a free two-day Health & Fitness Expo on Friday, November 18 and Saturday, November 19.
History of the Philadelphia Marathon
The beginnings of organized marathoning in Philadelphia date back to at least the 1920s when the race occurred on a course from the Philadelphia suburbs into the city. Mainly a suburban event, efforts were largely independent and promoted under various names over the years.
It was not until 1994 that the marathon became a City of Philadelphia-managed race held strictly within city limits. It was then that the Philadelphia Marathon Weekend as we know it today was officially established by the City and a group of dedicated athletes-physicians at the Rothman Institute. The new city-centered course provided a perfect setting for the many historic and beautiful assets of Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia Marathon started out modestly with a mere 1,500 participants in 1994 and has grown to become one of the top-10 marathons in the nation. Today, the race is flourishing, with nearly 30,000 participants expected to take part in all three races: The Rothman Orthopaedics 8K, as well as the AACR Philadelphia Marathon and Dietz & Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon.
The marathon remains true to one of its founding goals of promoting health and fitness, adding the health & fitness expo and a noncompetitive Kids Fun Run to the experience.
Over the decades, the Marathon has experienced many enhancements, but one thing remains the same: The Philadelphia Marathon Weekend is famous for going the distance.
The Philadelphia Marathon Weekend invites seasoned marathoners and first-timers alike. We are committed to ensuring equal access and opportunity for athletes of all gender identities. We offer three registration categories: men, women, and non-binary. Participants can select the category that best aligns with their gender identity. PLUS, our USATF-certified event requires no prequalifying times, ensuring it's open to all experience levels.
Learn more about the Philadelphia Marathon Weekend's non-binary initiatives.
Fiscal Agent and Charitable Impact
The Philadelphia Marathon Weekend is supported by our fiscal agent, the Philadelphia City Fund. PCF provides fiduciary oversight, financial management, technical assistance, and other administrative services to support the success of the Marathon.
The Philadelphia Marathon is the Philadelphia City Fund’s only program that generates unrestricted revenue, a portion of which is allocated for grantmaking to support the Philadelphia community each year. Through its Community Fund, PCF invests those proceeds in charitable projects that improve the quality of life for our residents. The Philadelphia Marathon Weekend is proud of its partnership with the Philadelphia City Fund and the impact of PCF’s signature community-focused grantmaking initiative.